On Gravity

Of all the things we have in common as a human species there’s one more than any other that’s irrefutable. Someday, when you least expect it, gravity is going to have its way with you. It happens to men as equally as it does with women and there’s no culture spared the physical truth of it.

            Native people are not immune as I have discovered. I’m 55 years old, cruising slowly along to 56 in a few months and the most pervasive force in the cosmos has already struck. There’s a severe downward pull and it gets all of us as we grow older.

            Some of us can actually remember the day it happens. We step out of the shower all glowing and fresh, grab a towel, look in the mirror, smile, and feel our buttocks drop. Boom. Just like that we’re saggy and we jiggle when we walk.

            Once I stepped out of the shower to discover two strange brown marks on my lower rib cage. I was terrified. I was sure I was in dire health but my wife pointed out that they were only my nipples. What a relief. I think.

            Oh, there’s exercise and diet options and all manner of things created to get us back to that firm, youthful presence – but once gravity asserts itself there’s no going back. We become, in the blink of an eye, jiggly, wiggly and loose and in need of fashion options.

            Ojibway people call it getting a bannock belly or putting on hibernation weight but it happens to everyone to some degree. It’s just part of our makeup as a species. We age, we droop, we sag. Exercise dutifully, eat right, take supplements, whatever, but gravity becomes the determinant force in our lives.

            So why fight it? I know that I bounce in places I never did before. I know that my once firm stride lacks a little decisiveness nowadays. But hey, I feel good. I feel able to go whatever distance life asks of me and in the end, that’s the important thing.

            No one ever got a flabby spirituality. No one ever had an obese mental outlook. No one I ever met developed a corpulent joy. No, the thing is, as much as gravity has its physical way with us, we can strike back with will.

            We can will ourselves to stay vital. That’s’ my plan anyway. Sure, I pack a few extra pounds on my uphill walks, my jeans size creeps closer to my age but I choose to be taut emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Those are energies gravity has no hold on. We can float, we can fly, we can become.

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About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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